Opinion: Responding to Baughn, Hardy says Chamber a voice for business concerns

Parker Hardy

Parker Hardy

By Parker Hardy

Note: This is a response to a July 9 column by Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn.

Let me begin by expressing my dismay at the continued war of words fueled by “guest columns” such as Ms. Baughn’s. The practice can be divisive, driving wedges of conflict into community unity that is crucial to Oak Ridge’s future. At worst, it can be destructive, damaging the morale and reputations of  volunteers, elected and appointed officials, professional staff, local organizations, and community institutions engaged in moving our city in positive directions. I am concerned that it also may discourage residential and business prospects that are considering locating in our city.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is a voice for business concerns, and it is sad that a public official thinks there’s something wrong with such a traditional role and such a fundamental right. In our almost 70 years of existence, we have built a broad membership base, most of which are small businesses. We are proud that our diverse membership ranges from local “mom-and-pop” companies, to respected professionals, to major corporations in the community and the region. In fact, if your readers will visit our online membership directory, perhaps they will recognize and support the hundreds of companies, individuals, and organizations that are investing in Oak Ridge through support for chamber initiatives. Yes, we count not-for-profits, government contractors, and out-of-town companies among our members. I believe they deserve praise, not punishment, for supporting our mission to enhance Oak Ridge’s economic vitality and business climate, and to provide business, leadership, and advocacy opportunities for our members. [Read more…]

Top issues identified: Housing, population, Main Street, retail

Warren Gooch

Warren Gooch

A community survey has identified housing, population, and the development of Main Street Oak Ridge and retail shopping as top issues, Mayor Warren Gooch said Tuesday.

Other top issues include jobs and economic development, and public relations efforts to promote the city.

High priorities on a list of potential capital investments or projects include infrastructure improvements, a new preschool, and funding of an incentive program for people buying or renovating a house.

Ten groups have participated in the survey since January 1, Gooch said. Those groups include the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge, the three Rotary clubs, Oak Valley Baptist Church, Anderson County Tea Party, Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce coffees, Leadership Oak Ridge, Neighborhood Watch awards banquet, and citizens at large.

Gooch, who gave a speech to the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge on Tuesday, said residents can still participate in the survey.

Here are survey results as of April 30, 2015:

What is the most important issue facing Oak Ridge?

[Read more…]

UT: Expertise in materials science, additive manufacturing helps draw CVMR to Tenn.

Michael Hargett and Kamran Khoza of CVMR USA

CVMR President Michael Hargett, left, and Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer, joined local, state, and federal officials on Friday, March 13, to announce they’re moving company headquarters from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced last week that CVMR Corporation is relocating its global headquarters to Oak Ridge from Toronto, Canada. CVMR provides materials for additive manufacturing and announced it will create 620 jobs.

During recruitment of CVMR, University of Tennessee officials assisted the state and hosted the company at UT Knoxville to visit with engineering and chemistry faculty and learn about graduate programs, such as the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, as well as internships and co-ops for students, a press release said. UT System officials provided information about technology transfer, the UT Research Foundation, and Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus. CVMR also learned more about the University’s role in leading the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI, a $259 million partnership announced by President Barack Obama in January. [Read more…]

Gov. Haslam, state to make ‘significant’ economic announcement in OR Friday

Bill Haslam during Presidential Visit at Pellissippi State

Governor Bill Haslam is pictured above during a visit by President Barack Obama at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, January 9. (File photo by Rob Welton)

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and the state will make a significant economic development announcement in Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon, officials said.

The announcement—which will also include other federal, state, and local officials—is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, March 13, at the former Theragenics Building at Horizon Center.

Details of the announcement have not been released. [Read more…]

Meredith appointed Chamber of Commerce president

Rick Meredith

Rick Meredith

Rick Meredith will become president of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce on April 1. He will replace the current president, Jackie Nichols, who is retiring effective May 1.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors announced the selection of Meredith, who is an Anderson County commissioner, on Monday.

“My compliments and appreciation to the search committee for their time commitment and to Chamber Board Chairman Stephen Harris for his leadership during the hiring process,” Nichols said. “Meredith was a highly qualified candidate, and I believe the perfect selection to continue the Chamber’s current momentum and growth.” [Read more…]

Traffic delays expected in Anderson County during presidential visit Friday

President Obama and Vice President Biden in Limo July 21, 2010

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden ride in the motorcade from the White House to the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 2010, to sign the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) 

There will be some traffic delays in Anderson County on Friday because the presidential motorcade will be traveling through the county, including the cities of Oak Ridge and Clinton, authorities said.

But the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department said it cannot release the times, the motorcade route, or the duration of the traffic delays.

“We also cannot release any other information concerning this event,” the Sheriff’s Department said.

The City of Oak Ridge also announced Thursday that traffic in Oak Ridge could be disrupted during the Friday afternoon visit to west Knox County and Clinton by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill. [Read more…]

Traffic in Oak Ridge could be disrupted Friday afternoon during president’s visit

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Traffic in Oak Ridge could be disrupted during the Friday afternoon visit to west Knox County and Clinton by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill.

The City of Oak Ridge sent out the traffic advisory on Thursday morning.

“The City of Oak Ridge is advising the public that traffic may be disrupted in Oak Ridge Friday afternoon due to the president’s visit to East Tennessee,” the advisory said. “Motorists should plan accordingly to arrive at their destinations on time. [Read more…]

President Obama to launch manufacturing hub during Knoxville visit

Dan Pfeiffer

Dan Pfeiffer

President Barack Obama will launch a new manufacturing innovation hub  during his visit to Knoxville and Clinton on Friday, a presidential aide said Wednesday.

The manufacturing innovation hub will be  a private-sector partnership that will attract more well-paying middle-class jobs in high-tech manufacturing to Tennessee, said Dan Pfeiffer, an assistant to the president and senior adviser.

During their Friday visit, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with his wife Jill Biden, will stop at Pellissippi State Community College in west Knox County and at manufacturer Techmer PM in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park in Clinton. [Read more…]

Clinton city manager: Presidential visit an honor, cost to city unknown

City of Clinton, Tennessee

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

Clinton City Manager Roger Houck told WYSH Radio in Clinton on Wednesday morning that being chosen for a presidential visit is an honor for a city of Clinton’s size and worth the extra effort that local officials have been making this week.

Houck also talked about how the visit will give national attention to the city, its attractiveness for both companies and potential employees, and even more economic development.

Houck also said that the extra costs to the city associated with the visit, which will not be reimbursed by the White House, are unclear at this time but will be worked out during the next few weeks. [Read more…]

AC, Clinton schools closing early Friday; police prepare for presidential visit

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Schools in Clinton and Anderson County will close early on Friday so buses can miss the traffic congestion and closed roads that are expected when President Barack Obama visits.

Dozens of intersections along the motorcade’s expected route will have to be covered, Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough told WYSH Radio.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill will visit Clinton manufacturer Techmer PM after the president speaks at Pellissippi State Community College in west Knox County. The visit to Clinton will be the first for a president. [Read more…]

Pellissippi State confirms presidential visit to college, Techmer PM in Clinton

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama


Pellissippi State Community College has confirmed that President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s wife Jill will stop at Pellissippi State Community College during their visit to East Tennessee on Friday.

The college confirmed the visit in an announcement posted on its website. The president, vice president, and the vice president’s wife will stop at Pellissippi State in west Knox County to discuss new initiatives that Obama will propose to help Americans go to college and get the skills they need to succeed, the college said.

Afterward, the three will travel to Techmer PM in Clinton to highlight the administration’s efforts to act to create new, well-paying manufacturing jobs, the announcement said. [Read more…]

President Obama, VP Biden, wife coming to ET on Friday

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Information from WYSH Radio

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and the vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, are coming to East Tennessee on Friday to announce a new higher education initiative.

The White House announced the Tennessee visit on Saturday as part of a week-long, cross-country tour to promote presidential policies on housing, economic development, and education.

Knoxville media reported that Obama and Biden will visit Pellissippi State Community College and then stop by Techmer PM, a Clinton company that makes additive and colorant systems for industries. [Read more…]